Shifts of Cohesion in Subtitling from English into Arabic: A Corpus-Based Study on Explicitation of Reference, Substitution, and Ellipsis

Author: Halima

Keywords: Cohesion, explicitation, parallel corpus, subtitling, subtitling constraints


Over the last decades, explicitation has been gaining ground in translation studies, especially after the formulation of Blum-Kulka’s explicitation hypothesis in 1986. The present study aims to investigate explicitation in subtitling from English into Arabic by examining three cohesive devices i.e., reference, substitution, and ellipsis. For the purpose of this study, a parallel corpus was elaborated, consisting of fifteen TED-Ed lessons. The research material is one hour and four minutes, and the total word count of the parallel corpus is 17,491 words. The data collection and analysis were conducted manually. Instances of explicitation of cohesive devices were detected and categorized according to their nature i.e., reference, substitution, or ellipsis based on the model of cohesion proposed by Halliday and Hasan (1976). The findings of the study indicate that instances of explicitation of the three cohesive devices were observed in the corpus under investigation. The findings also show a high percentage of reference-based explicitation (75.86%) followed by substitution-based explicitation (13.79%) and ellipsis-based explicitation (10.34%). Further investigation could be made to generalize the results using a larger corpus, exploring explicitation of other linguistic features, and including different genre of AVT products.